Estimating public expenses on immigration policy – a comparative analysis for four European countries

Agata A. Górny, University of Warsaw
Agnieszka Fihel, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

In 2015 issues concerning immigration and immigration policy were put forward in the public discourse in all European countries. Massive inflow of refugees, establishing common receiving procedures and improving public policies towards immigrants constitute an important challenge for all European Union member states, including countries that have been receiving foreigners for decades now and those that became destinations only recently. In this study, we intend to evaluate how costly are immigration policies implemented in European countries for the state budgets. We define immigration policy as the whole spectrum of actions taken by government and regional administrative bodies to make the settlement possible and to facilitate the social, cultural and economic integration of foreigners. Using the economic concept of total, average and marginal costs we compare the amount and structure of public expenses spent on immigration policy with regard to their allocation (i.e. prevention of illegal inflow, recruitment of foreign labour, family reunion, cultural integration etc.). We focus on four European countries with significantly different public policies, international (including postcolonial) links, economic and geographic conditions: Austria, France, Italy and Poland. Such selection of cases allows us to demonstrate variations with regard to expenses on immigration policies in Europe in relation to migration realities and policy developments. The study covers the period for which the most recent data was available, that is 2010-2013. Each type of public expenditure spent on immigration policy in studied countries was assessed on the basis of official documents, derived from expert interviews and/or estimated. Preliminary results reveal important differences between each country’s amount of public expenses (ranging from 0.08 to 0.3% of GDP) and their allocation, which may be linked to specifics of each country’s immigration policy.

Presented in Poster Session 1